(Apologies – the original post appears to have been lost from the site)
Rix & Kay is a firm of solicitors in the South East with offices in Uckfield, Brighton and Sevenoaks. There are three lawyers and six assistants within its Later Life team which specialises in private client work (Powers of Attorney, Wills and care fees planning, Court of Protection etc) for elderly and vulnerable people.
In October 2015 the team won the Law Society’s Excellence Award for Business Development for its thought leadership campaign in the care sector and in November 2015 it won the Team of the Year Award at the LawNet Awards 2015. I talked to Richard Bates, the head of the team who led the campaign.
Business objectives and internal buy-in
“Back at the start of 2013 we had an idea to provide a specialist service for elderly and vulnerable people as in Sussex as nearly 23% of the population are 65+ compared to a national average of 17%. We needed to raise our profile and awareness of our specialist services and generate work referrals”.
“We identified that care homes were an important channel to market and had the idea of undertaking research into the issues they faced to learn more about them, establish personal relationships and explain the impact on their businesses if their residents did not have the relevant legal advice and authorities in place”.
“Our internal marketing and business development team helped provide some structure and a project plan for the work. I spent a lot of time explaining to the Later Life team, the partners and the rest of the firm about the proposed campaign and managing their expectations that it might take years for results to start appearing.”
How the integrated campaign evolved
“The research was conducted in two parts between June 2013 and January 2014. I personally interviewed 20 care home owners and operators to obtain qualitative information – some of those meetings were rather short and others became much longer where I almost became a mentor on a range of business issues – particularly as the Care Quality Commission now considers business operations as well as care provision. Then we sent a short questionnaire to 450 care homes in the region – addressing the issues facing both care home operators as well as their residents – and 60 responses were received”.
“Once I had analysed the results and written the report, the marketing team took over the design and production of the report and developed a new section of the web site. We sent out the report to those who had participated and alerted all those on our database to the series of quarterly events for those involved in the care sector we were launching at Sussex Cricket Ground. An early aim was to obtain as many email addresses and permissions as possible – we are now able to issue an e-bulletin every two months”.
“The campaign enabled us to draw together some other marketing activities – for example, a series of videos on topics such as deputyships and continuing care. And I made a concerted effort to use social media (primarily LinkedIn and Twitter) to engage in relevant conversations – adopting the themes that emerged from the research. This included participating in a weekly Twitter forum with care providers. I also started writing two columns in the trade press – Tomorrow’s Care which reaches 25,000 and on-line Nursing and Residential Care magazine reaching 2,000. I – and other members of the team – are now frequently asked to provide talks at care industry events now too”.
This approach to content management – using a major piece of content (the research report) – and developing content for monthly (traditional print media), weekly (blogs) and daily (social media) use is well established in digital marketing.
The results and the future
“The results have been really good. Fees for the Later Life team have increased by 21% since April 2013 and gross profit has increased from 49.1% to 54.8% despite adding a further three members of staff and the overheads. Client satisfaction has increased to 95% and 100% of our clients say that they would recommend us”.
“We have also been able to refer a significant number of cases and transactions to both our company/commercial and commercial property legal teams . This has resulted in the firm forming a cross-disciplinary Care Homes sector team so a lot more people in the firm are now involved in the campaign”.
“As we embarked on the second round of research earlier this year we found that people were much more willing to participate. And our established credibility in the sector – supported by the fact that some quite high profile people have engaged – has meant that we are already generating interest and work from those we are talking to”.
From my perspective, the campaign was a text book example of an integrated thought leadership campaign sustained over a period of time. The objectives were clear. What is perhaps most interesting is that it developed business in both business (B2B) and consumer (B2C) markets and whilst the core concept was in the area of referrer management it drew on the whole spectrum of marketing techniques – digital marketing, media relations, social media and events etc.
Details of the Rix & Kay Later Life team can be found here: http://www.rixandkay.co.uk/law-for-life/planning-and-support-for-later-life-and-the-vulnerable/
The report can be downloaded from here http://www.rixandkay.co.uk/law-for-life/personal-injury/faq/the-care-sector-what-does-the-future-hold-2/ The second edition will be published in January 2016
Law Society excellence awards: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/support-services/events-training/excellence-awards/